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Saturday, 8 May 2010

First Submarine Attack by Americans against British 1776




When it comes to being creative or getting an idea off the drawing board, and putting it to practical use; I think the Americans are a nation that can motivate and plug dreams to become reality. If they don’t succeed the first time, they try again – a trait that served them well over the years.

I was astonished to learn that they invented and used a submarine against us in 1776. One of their first attempts at chasing, what was then, a fantasy notion. I was taken aback when I watched the small YouTube documentary below, about an attempted innovation by the fledgeling nation, when they were at war with us Brits. It was during the Independence conflict and was the first recorded submarine attack ever. The target was H.M.S. Eagle - a Royal Navy vessel that was moored off of Liberty Island.

The Turtle was like a giant distorted beer barrel in a strawberry shape and was waterproof. It had room for one person who worked the submersible device from within.

The underwater weapon was cast from a nearby bank during the night. It bobbed about in the waves as it neared the anchored ship. Then when the Turtle got close it submerged successfully. The underwater contraption then proceeded towards H.M.S. Eagle's hull underwater and out of sight of the lookouts on board the ship.

The daring expedition was controlled by Sergeant Ezra Lee (1749 - 1821.) He managed to manoeuvre the quaint submarine under the hull of H.M.S. Eagle as she lay in anchor. Once underneath, he tried to bore a hole into the ship’s hull with the use of a drill. In this final part of his mission, he was unsuccessful because he could not settle the drill properly upon the wood. He had air enough for thirty minutes and as he began to tire, he had to abandon the mission. The Turtle backed away to safety.

The American Militia would try two further attempts, during the Independence war, but these were unsuccessful too. However, this primitive underwater vehicle, known as the Turtle, did come close to success. It was the first submarine in use during a military conflict.




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